Transparency and Reporting in the GLOBAL ARMS TRADE

Identifying Gaps in Reported Arms Transfers and Assessing States’ Commitments to Transparency (2015–2019)*

Annual reports on arms exports and imports submitted by ATT States Parties are intended to be a critical tool for increasing transparency and providing greater understanding of the global arms trade. Transparency builds confidence in responsible and accountable government actions when making arms-transfer decisions. To meet these objectives, ATT annual reports must be publicly available, accurate and comprehensive, as well as meaningfully transparent.

To explore ways to strengthen the ATT process, this paper builds on ATT Monitor analysis featured in the 2021 ATT Monitor Report. Based on data provided in ATT annual reports from 2015-2019, the first five years of annual reporting show that States Parties have not lived up to the promise and requirements of the ATT.

The paper explores ATT reporting practices and trends, and seeks to understand where States Parties have fallen short of their obligations under the Treaty. It then examines gaps in reported arms transfers in the context of two humanitarian crises and suggests potential reasons for these gaps. Finally, it offers broad recommendations for action for States Parties and the ATT Conference of States Parties.

*Produced with generous support from the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

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